I worry about those religious folks who think they have it all figured out. If God exists he is much a mystery. I can believe, even in the midst of my doubts. In fact, my favorite religious believers are those whose faith is tempered (not hampered) by doubt. They are less likely to become nuts about it. They are also more inclined to believe that life has purpose and that if that is true we should be trying to make a difference, to be a force for good in this world.
The recent passing of two people of faith has fueled my imagination. One was aid-worker Kayla Mueller, who I wrote a post on the other day. She was an "unwavering" believer in God who actually put her faith into action.
Andrew Shepherd, a friend of Mueller's, said:
Mueller was unwavering in her faith, Shepherd said, but he learned that she struggled with the concept of organized religion and dogma.
"She saw God in a bigger sense than that," said Shepherd, now a pastor in Portland, Ore. "God was something that you met in the world. I think she was the authentic seeker. She was still trying to figure out who God was all of the time."
That certainly works for me and my vision of faith. God is bigger than the narrow-mindedness of some of his followers.
The other person is New York Times journalist who, according to this item in The Washington Post, had a "messy relationship" with faith:
Am I, underneath all things, just a really wonderful, giving person? Or is there a force greater than myself that is leading me to act in ways that are altruistic and not self-interested and lead to the greater good?
That’s sort of as far as I’ve gotten with the higher-power thing. I’m kind of a pirate, kind of a thug. I’ve done terrible things, and yet I’m for the most part able to be a decent person. … I think something else is working on me.
What a great thought about God: that force that influences us towards the good.
Religious faith isn't a blind leap into the dark. It is a hopeful leap into the not fully understood.